Methanogenesis and sulfate reduction in timber and drainage water from a gold mine

Linda D. Abraham, Kenneth Westlake, Roderick I. Mackie, John F. Putterill, Albin A.W. Baecker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biogenesis of methane in the heartwood of diseased trees has been shown, but never in timber in service. Studies were undertaken to establish whether methan‐ogens and sulfate‐reducers were present in wooden pit props and drainage water from underground sites in a gold mine. The predominant methanogen in the mine ecosystem was tentatively identified as Methanobacterium bryantii. The sulfate‐reducers comprised Desulfovibrio desulfuricans and Desulfotomaculum antarcticum. Most probable numbers (MPN) of bacteria indicated that 3.5 × 105 methanogenic and 7.9 × 103 sulfate‐reducing bacteria were present per milliliter of stagnant drainage water. MPN values per gram of timber were lower for methanogens but comparable for sulfate‐reducers. Laboratory model systems predicted a maximum rate of methan‐ogenesis of 2.3 mL methane/g wood per day; however, rates would never attain this value because of nutrient limitations and environmental restrictions. Analysis of gas samples extracted from sealed areas of the gold mine verified the presence of methane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-183
Number of pages17
JournalGeomicrobiology Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989


  • Drainage water
  • Fires
  • Gold mines
  • Methanogenic bacteria
  • Pit props
  • Sulfate‐reducers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Methanogenesis and sulfate reduction in timber and drainage water from a gold mine'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this